Antique Charm Necklace
Antique Charm Necklace
DATE: Early 20th Century, 1900-1930
An outstanding antique charm necklace featuring a collection put together in the first few decades of the 20th century (based on dates engraved on some of the charms). Highlights include: owl with garnet eyes; multigem giardinetti; two sapphire and diamond clusters; large gold bell (working); chalcedony sugarloaf cabochon with diamond border; enamelled Joker playing card; pearl double heart; guilloché enamel jockey's cap. The charms are all gold, some platinum set, and they're suspended on a 9k gold belcher chain (circa 1900), some of them clearly picked up on travels - the shamrock, Welsh dragon, and black enamel locket with "Budapest 1928" and "Stockholm 1919" appear to fall into this category. It's great to find a collection such as this remaining intact, and especially nice to find a charm necklace as opposed to bracelet.
Charms have always been a unique and great way to express individuality, and they're often passed down the generations to be enjoyed and added to by descendants. The wearing of charms is thought to have begun in order to ward of bad luck or evil spirits, and it's been part of human culture since pre-historic times when charms were made from shells, animal bones, clay, rocks and wood. There's evidence of shells being worn on the body from as far back as 75,000 years, and in ancient Egypt charms were worn as symbols of faith and luck, as well as for identification of social standing. The first known charm bracelets were worn by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Hittites as early as 600 BC.
Since then they've come in and out of fashion. Notably Queen Victoria inspired a charm bracelet trend among the European noble classes, and was said to have "loved to wear and give charm bracelets," and, as we know, "...when her beloved Prince Albert died, she even made "mourning" charms popular; lockets if hair from the deceased, miniature portraits of the deceased, charm bracelets carved in jet..." The next wave came in the 1920s, when the use of platinum and diamond was introduced by jewellers (this necklace fits into this period), and another in the 1950s and '60s when teenagers collected - or were given - charms to mark significant events in their lives. Recently charm collections have had something of a resurgence once again, with companies such as Pandora showing huge growth since 2000 (Pandora is now the third largest jewellery producer behind Tiffany and Cartier), but additionally an interest in sustainable shopping has sparked an enthusiasm vintage and antique charms.
Sapphire, Diamond, Chalcedony, Turquoise, Zircon, Peridot, Pearl
Wearable length: 21 inches
Charms range from: 2.9cm (giardinetti) to 1.2cm (sailboat)
Various gold marks. Charms are either 9k or high karat gold. Chain is 9k gold.
Very good, some light wear commensurate with age and use. The red shoe charm has been added into a gap present when we acquired the necklace, thus is the only one not original